For this year’s microgravity project we will be working with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Cbana Labs in the development of a volatile organic compound (VOC) monitor that can be used in space. A VOC is a device that measures the air quality of the environment and helps detect hazardous gases. One way to do this is with the use of a micro flame ionization detector (microFID). I hate to use Wikipedia as a reference, but they actually have a pretty good artical explaining more about FID’s if you want to learn more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_ionization_detector. Cbana Labs currently has a functional device for operation on Earth but would like to extend the usage of such a device to a space shuttle or the international space station. The problem with the current design is the method used to introduce samples into the device relies on gravity. So our task will be to redesign the current technology to work in a zero-g or microgravity environment. Another main consideration that is to be tested is if the micro-FID actually functions even with the samples properly fed into it. The problem is that flames behave very differently in zero gravity and might affect the results. Here’s a cool demonstration video to see what I mean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q58-la_yAB4
Archive for February, 2012
UNL Microgravity bloggers will be posting here … stay tuned!